Ikea pushing e-commerce growth

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, is pushing for sales growth, primarily through its online channel. The retailer wants to make the shopping experience more convenient and respond to the increasing use of smartphones and tablets to research and buy products.

Ikea operates 315 stores in 27 countries, selling online in 13 of those countries, reported The Associated Press. The company wants to push its online offerings globally, with a goal to reach $63.7 billion in sales by 2020.

However, the retailer is in no way discounting the expansion of physical retail. In fact, in January of this year Ikea announced an aggressive plan to grow its brick-and-mortar presence over the next few years. And in the summer, the company opened its first city-center store in Hamburg, Germany.

"Customers still would like to sit on the sofa and feel how comfortable it is," Peter Agnefjail, Ikea's president and CEO told The Associated Press. "What we do see is that customers are more walking across channels in a way that is very seamless."

Ikea is seeing a recovery in many of its European stores, which account for about 70 percent of total sales and which were hampered by economic slowdown. In the United States, Ikea has fragmented competition from stores such as Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT) and Crate & Barrel.

Ikea will continue to focus on cutting prices on big-ticket items. Last year it cut prices by 1 percent, and it is also working on catering to customers who want their products faster, including a ship-to-store option in the U.K.

About 90 percent of the company's 9,500 items are offered for sale online, up from about half a few years ago. In the United States, the retailer offers 70 percent of its products online.

For more:
-See this The Associated Press article

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